To analyze investment in an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software two major tools that are normally used, i.e. the Return on Investment (ROI) and the Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA). The ROI of an investment is an analysis of the costs for investing versus the most tangible profits i.e. financial gains from the investment. On the other hand, a Cost-Benefit Analysis is a more comprehensive analysis tool as it considers both the tangible as well as intangible gains and losses. All these rules apply to the investment in an Electronic Health Records (EHR) Software as well. ROI captures the tangible profits and costs of an EHR System implementation, whereas the CBA covers both tangible and intangible aspects. Practices should be cautious, while considering the use of any analysis techniques, to view all the direct and indirect implementation costs and then make a well-informed investment decision. The list highlights both the measurable and immeasurable gains and losses that the practice will experience due to the implementation of an EHR System.

Measurable Benefits

Increased Productivity of the Practice

The productivity of the medical practice will increase exponentially after the implementation of an EHR System since it will streamline the processes and make the operations efficient. By allowing healthcare providers to automate the appointment-booking and billing procedures, and make visit notes and follow-up reminders, they make the whole process hassle-free. The documentation becomes accurate with the use of online forms and portals for information collection. In the end, everything adds up to increase the productivity of the practice greatly.

Efficient Operations

Through automation at every step, the need for staff decreases and since human-errors are eliminated, the workflow smoothens and becomes less time-consuming. The communication functionalities i.e. email and text messaging etc. (as offered by athenahealth, modernizing medicine, etc.)decrease the communication gap and hence saves time.

Immeasurable Benefits

Increased Customer Satisfaction

When the patients receive an efficient and professional healthcare service, the satisfaction level increases greatly and they are more likely to stick to the practice in the future, hence customers are retained.

Better Employee Satisfaction

After proper guidance and training, the staff gets comfortable with the use of the EMR Software in use. This ensures a better workflow and stress-free data management for them, and hence they start enjoying their work. When work means less stress and more fun, the satisfaction level of the staff goes up automatically.

Improved Patient Outcomes

With the use of patient portals (e.g Kareo Clinical) and other smart tools for medication interactions, e-Prescribing (e-Rx), and treatment plans, etc. the level of communication between the patient and the practice gets better. Hence, these smart EMR tools lead to better patient experience and improved patient outcomes.

Costs of Investment

The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) or Practice Management (PM) Software needs to be considered while performing any of the analyses. The TCO includes all of the financial (both direct and indirect) costs of purchase and the service costs over time and hence provides a more clear picture of the cost of use and not only the purchase. The accurate modeling of costs helps practices make more informed decisions and do proper cost-benefit analyses of the investment.